There was this guy that I did a lot of stuff with when I was a teenager. We’d bunk school, cycle to the park, share cigarettes and hang out under the trees listening to Jethro Tull.
He was pimply, rough and gawky. I was shy, clumsy and flat chested. We were the perfect pair, this awkward guy and I. Unusual, ungainly friends.
Until he had to leave town. Just as we were growing up and out of our awkwardness, he and his family went to the US. Sad goodbyes, kisses on pimply cheeks, hugs with budding bosoms getting in the way.
We did a whole blood brother thing, promising that we’d still share our first joint together, and our first beer, maybe even our first kiss. Never ever lose contact.
For a while we were okay. Secret phone calls late at night, lazing on our beds. He would play the guitar in New York while I hugged my pillow in Norwood.
Missing him. Feeling things. Suddenly thinking about love.
But time is time. And he started drifting away, and I tried to hold on, but he drifted and I pulled him back but he drifted more and I pulled and he pushed and I pulled some more and then he drifted completely, and I guess I drifted too.
It was more than ten years before we saw each other again.
When we did, there was nothing awkward. His acne had mostly disappeared and my chest measurements had mostly turned magnificent. The boy had turned into a man, I had turned into a woman, cigarettes had turned to pot and the park had turned into a palace.
I fell in love with him, all over again, because really, I’d always loved him.
He’d changed, growing up in New York. He was elegant, sophisticated, handsome, and worldly.
But still pockmarked!
It was good. Great. Until I found out that he was not only good and great with me. There was also a Violet in Amsterdam, and a Violet in London, one in Toronto and another in Tokyo. Violets everwhere – Harare, Malawi and Abu Dhabi.
He was pockmarked but very bloody popular!
I tried to be cool, I tried to be one of many, and I tried to pretend that it didn’t matter. But it did, because goddamnit there should only be one Violet! So I threw him out my house one night, and that it was it. He went.
No more pimples.
I remember crying myself to sleep for days, weeks, maybe even a year, until I was ready to get up and find myself another man.
I got over him.
Until last week. Another ten years later. I was walking through the park, the same park, listening to music, in my own world, dreamy, when suddenly, I walked smash bang boom into this guy.
‘Hey Bud, watch your step’ he said, and I started shaking uncontrollably because my guy used to call me ‘Bud’.
In. That. Exact. Same. Spot.
It wasn’t him. But that ‘Bud’ together with this guy’s pimples, took me all the way back to us. To what we could have been.
I cried myself to sleep that night. Twenty years later. I still cried.
I have no idea where he is today. There’s a huge part of me that wants to find him.
But ‘What If’s’ are holding me back.
What if it isn’t good? What if he’s married with sixteen children? What if there are still a whole lot of Violets?
What if he’s gone bald and fat and ugly and I don’t really care about that, it’s more what if he doesn’t care.
What if, hey?
I don’t think we ever get over our first loves.